Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplants - Round Two

I planted a bed of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants at the beginning of the month, but with all the late freezes we got in Central Texas this year, everything died.  We should be in the clear now, and with a weekend of beautiful weather, I was able to replant my tomato/pepper/eggplant bed.

This time around, I planted the following:

  • 2 Black Beauties
  • 1 Long Purple
  • 1 Green Bell
  • 1 Yellow Bell
  • 1 Gypsy Sweet
  • 1 California Wonder Select Sweet
  • 1 Serrano
  • 1 Pablano
  • 1 Hot Cayenne
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 1 Mucho Nacho - Jumbo Jalapeno
  • 1 Big Boy Hybrid
  • 1 Roma
  • 1 Early Girl
  • 1 Bradley Heirloom
  • 1 Juliet - Roma Grape Hybrid
  • 1 Super Sweet 100 Cherry
I can't wait to see how all these varieties do this summer!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Zilker Garden Festival

Today I went to my very first Zilker Garden Festival, held at the Zilker Botanical Gardens.  It was a very nice outting on a beautiful Texas spring day.  There were many kiosks of local nurserys selling plants, artists selling handmade crafts, as well as guest speakers presenting on a variety of topics.

I barely made it into the doors when I spotted a nice kiosk of plants and had to buy several.  From there, it felt like I stopped at every other kiosk and bought something.  There were so many great plants and crafts.

I ended the excursion with a nice loot of goodies, including:

  • 2 Black and Blue Salvia
  • 1 Summer Jewel Red Salvia
  • 1 Gregg's Blue Mistflower
  • 1 Milkweed
  • 1 Aloe (free - given away by one of the vendors)
  • 3 eggplants
  • 2 peppers
  • 1 piece of garden art - A flower made out of steel, bronze and gemstones

What a great day!  I hope to make it back next year.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spider Plant Propagation

I've had my spider plant about 6 months now, and in the past couple of months, it has been producing a lot of baby spider plants, so I thought it was time to try my hand at some spider plant propagation.  Spider plants are one of the easiest plants to propagate, lucky for me, since this is my first go at propagation.

First, I selected a couple of the largest babies that had some good starter root nubs and cut them off the mother plant.

Before planting the baby spider plants in soil, I wanted to give them a head start by getting the roots to grow in some water.  I placed the baby spider plants in enough water to cover the root shoots and in a large enough container to help keep the plant propped upright in the water.

After about 10 days, I had enough roots started to pot the plant.

And voila! I magically have two new spider plants. Looks like I will need to find another friend or neighbor to do some plant swapping with!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Plant Sharing

The plants that I started from seeds several weeks ago will soon need to be transplanted outside.  I have more than enough of all the flowers, herbs and veggies that I planted, so I wanted to share a box of goodies with my friendly neighbor, who gifted me some of her divided irises a couple of weeks ago.  I gave her several morning glory plants, a watermelon, squash, cucumber, kale and some cilantro.  Plant sharing and trading is so much fun!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Morning Glory Madness

I started a variety of morning glories from seeds indoors about four weeks ago under my grow lights.  They have been growing like crazy and have outgrown their seed cell trays and were even busting out of their larger containers that I transplanted them to about a week and a half ago.  I decided it was time to get them in the ground outside, even though I'm a little concerned that we still have several cold nights ahead of us, getting down to the mid-30s.

I planted about 14 groupings of plants 6 inches apart along the back chain-link fence.  I planted some in this spot last year and they did very well, beautifying the ugly fence. I'm looking forward to an array of blues, purples and pink flowers later this spring and summer, assuming they survive the chilly nights ahead.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friendly Friday

Today I got a lovely surprise from a friend - a beautiful bouquet of flowers, along with some other goodies.  Why?  Because I offered to dog sit her precious pup.  So thoughtful and sweet!  Unfortunately, circumstances did not work out and I did not end up dog-sitting this weekend, but there are plans for a rain check later this month!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cool Weather Kale

I've had some kale growing in the garden since late fall and finally went out to harvest some of it today.  This kale has been extremely hardy - going from temperatures in the 20s up to the 80s and still looking great.  I've unfortunately forgotten the particular variety, but I know I will definitely plan to grow kale every year now since it is so easy to maintain, and such a super food that I love having in my diet.

This harvest went into making a few green juices that I whipped up along with some celery, cucumber, romaine lettuce, green apple, and lemon.  Mmmm, delish!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Courtyard Tree Project

About a year ago, we had some tree trimmers come to the house to tidy up our trees.  While they did a nice job on the trees, they delivered some devastating news - our courtyard tree, which provides glorious shade during the hot Texas summers, was rotting and would need to come down within a year.  It was heart-breaking news, especially since the courtyard was one of the main selling points of the house for us.

This past fall brought some strong winds through central Texas, which resulted in the tree breaking off from the base.  It was leaning against the house, so we knew it was time to take down so it wouldn't cause damage to the roof.

The first step was to buy a chain saw and saw down the tree, limb by limb.  That was, of course, my husband's job.

Next was to remove as much of the stump and roots as possible, since we plan to plant another tree in its place.  My husband rented a stump grinder from Home Depot and got to work.

That process created a nice mess in the courtyard.  The plan is to remove as much of the wood chips and soil as possible, just to make sure any disease or poor soil isn't used for our next tree.  We will probably wait until next winter or spring to plant a new tree in its place.  I'm looking forward to sitting out under the shade of our new courtyard tree in a couple of years.  In the meantime - do you have any suggestions on the best type of tree we should plant?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Spring Seedlings

On February 17th, I planted several flower, herb and veggies seeds indoors on my grow shelves.  To get a start on the spring planting.
I planted the following:


  • Zinnias - Purple Prince, Giant Violet Queen, Lilliput Mixed Colors
  • Marigolds - Burpee's Best Mix
  • Morning Glories - Tall Mix
  • Oriental Poppy - Brilliant Red
  • Alyssum - Royal Carpet


  • Sweet Basil
  • Common Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Echinacea - Purple Coneflower

  • Kale - Lacinato
  • Eggplant - Black Beauty
  • Cucumber - Marketmore 76
  • Watermelon - Sweet Scarlet Hybrid
  • Cantaloupe - Hale's Best Jumbo
  • Summer Squash - Pic-N-Pic Hybrid

The morning glories, zinnias, marigolds, watermelon, squash, cucumbers and kale are all really taking off and I'll need to move them outside soon.  However, with the recent swing in temperatures and possibility of yet another freeze, I'm going to try to postpone it for as long as possible.

Ice Ice Baby

We've been having bi-polar weather here in Central Texas the last few weeks.  Last Saturday was in the 80s.  Last night was in the low 20s and today was freezing rain.  I'm pretty sure that I've lost some of the plants that I planted last weekend with this crazy weather, which is a real bummer.  Just to be sure there are no more freezes, I plan to wait a couple weeks before I plant anymore spring plants in the garden.

Everything is not bigger in Texas.  These baby icicles are proof.

Cardinal and red-bellied woodpecker at the feeder

The ice sparkling in the sunlight

Poor, poor veggie plants

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplants, OH MY!

Last weekend was perfect weather - 82 degrees and sunny.  It was great gardening weather and inspired me to make a trip to the Natural Gardener and Home Depot to get a kick start on my veggie beds.  Tomato, pepper and eggplant transplants were out at the stores, so I couldn't resist grabbing a variety to plant in one of my 10x4 foot vegetable beds.  I picked up and planted the following:


  • 1 Better Boy
  • 1 Celebrity
  • 1 Tycoon
  • 1 Valley Girl
  • 1 Cherry Super Sweet 100
  • 1 Red Cherry
  • 4 Hot Cayenne
  • 1 Pablano
  • 1 Mammoth Jalapeno
  • 1 Yummy Snacking Petite Bell 
  • 1 Serrano
  • 2 Red Bells
  • 1 Giant Marconi Sweet Bell
  • 1 Carmen Sweet
  • 2 Black Beauties

Unfortunately, I was probably a bit too impatient.  I really should have waited a few more weeks to plant these summer plants.  We had a couple nights that dipped into the 30s last week and it is suppose to freeze again tonight, which does not bode well for these heat-loving plants.  I covered them with some freeze cloths last week and they seemed alright, so hopefully they will get through tonight's freeze alright.  Even if they survive the freeze, the cold weather will probably end up stunting their growth, since they prefer to not get below 50.  I may have to do some replanting later this spring.

Gifted Bearded Irisis

A generous neighbor recently separated some bearded iris rhizomes that were descendants from her grandmother's plants, and gifted them to me.  She gave me about 30 plants, which I was excited to plant in my backyard bulb bed.

To plant around some of my other bulb plants, I had to split the 30 plants into two sections, one on each side of the bulb bed.

I'm excited for these new treasures to bloom, but it might take some time, since some of the cuttings were pretty small and will need time to grow.  My neighbor sent this picture to me, so I know the beauty that I have in store.